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South Thames College (Wandsworth and Tooting) - Learner Support on mainstream courses

For students on mainstream courses, our Learner Support Team helps over 1,000 people each year achieve success.

What support is available

Your support plan will depend on your level of need and could include:

  • Language, literacy and numeracy support, and/or a learning mentor
  • Specialist teaching outside of class (for learning difficulties)
  • A reading group
  • Mentoring
  • Specialist software and adapted equipment such as JAWS screen reader, literacy software Text Help and Read&Write, and magnifiers
  • Speech and language therapy
  • A learner support worker in and/or outside of class
  • A social skills group
  • A British Sign Language communicator or note taker
  • Special exam arrangements such as a reader, scribe or extra time
  • Personal care.

South Thames College, Carshalton College, Kingston College are pleased to announce that they formally merged today, 1, August 2017.

The three Colleges will form the South Thames Colleges Group – with Carshalton College, Kingston College and South Thames College all continuing with their existing names. This will allow the colleges to continue to build on their successful reputations.

South Thames College’s Merton Campus will formally become Merton College, meaning the new group has four distinct member colleges.

Who to contact

General enquiries: 020 8919 7777Learner Support: 020 8918 7486Learner Support (Minicom): 020 8918 7969
Merton College


Merton campus
London Road

You are welcome to visit us. Check our college open days page for details. Our learning support staff attend these events and can explain how you may be supported during your course. With notice, we are usually able to help with any extra support you may need e.g. signers or speaking guides. All our sites are fully accessible.

Other Details


Referral Details

How to access support

You can let us know if you want support when you fill in the application or enrolment form for your course, or by filling in a support referral form at your interview or in a tutorial. If you have a learning difficulty assessment document, special educational needs statement or Education, Health and Care plan, please provide copies of these with your form as they might help us get additional funding for you.

After your application you'll meet with one of our support specialists who will assess your needs. We'll tailor a support plan for you which - with your permission - will be sent to your teacher and other relevant staff. If you have a medical condition or physical disability you'll also receive a health and safety plan.

You can discuss your support requirements with us at any point

Local Offer


We welcome learners with learning difficulties or disabilities and provide support to make sure you’re successful in your learning.

There are three main pathways for learners with learning difficulties or disabilities:

1. Mainstream courses with learner support
2. Skills for Working Life for students with a moderate learning disability
3. The Aurora Centre for students with autistic spectrum disorder and complex needs

Detailed Local Offer

1. Our service for learners with additional needs

Access to Mainstream courses with Learner Support. You can tell us when you apply for your course if you need learner Support - there’s an area on the course application form for this. After you have let us know you need support, you’ll be invited to meet with a specialist in either:

a) physical/medical conditions, mental health or sensory support

b) learning difficulties or disabilities.

The specialist will work with you to assess your needs. We may also ask for your permission to contact other relevant professionals.

With your consent, we’ll then send an agreed support plan to your tutor and other relevant staff. This will outline the support they need to give you.

3. Support available

After your assessment, your support package may include some of the following:

  • Language, literacy and numeracy support and/or a learning mentor
  • A specialist teaching group outside your normal class
  • A reading group
  • Specialist software or adapted equipment such as JAWS screen reader, literacy software Text Help and Read&Write, and magnifiers
  • Mentoring
  • Speech and language therapy
  • A learner support worker
  • A social skills group
  • A British Sign Language communicator and/or note taker
  • Personal care
  • Access arrangements for exams such as a reader, scribe or extra time.

If you have a medical condition or physical disability you may also receive a health and safety plan.

You may be invited to meet your learner support worker and look around the campus before the start of term.

10. Visiting the college

We have open events and activities throughout the year. You can find out details and register on our open days and events page. Our learner support staff at these events can help explain the support available on mainstream courses.

11. Telling us what support you need

You can tell us when you apply for your course – there’s an area on the course application form for this. You, your school or local authority need to send us your EHC plan, SEN statement and any other documents explaining the support you currently receive.

If you prefer, you can discuss your needs with one of our learner support officers.

If you are on a mainstream course, you may need support after you start your course. In this case, you can fill in a support referral form and take an assessment.

12. Financial help

You could qualify for a grant under the Government’s 16-19 bursary scheme. Read our financial support page for more information:

If you've been accepted on a higher education course and you have a disability, learning difficulty or medical condition that affects your learning, you could be eligible for the Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA). For details on eligibility and how to apply, read our DSA information booklet:

You should apply for DSA as soon as possible and we can help you with this.

If you are aged 16-25 and have an EHC plan or SEN statement you could get free college meals. This is a daily allowance of £2.41 which is automatically uploaded to your college ID card to spend in college canteens.
To receive this, you or your parents or carers must be in receipt of one or more of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income Based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
  • The guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided there is no entitlement to Working Tax Credit and the household annual gross income is no more than £16,190)
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

Pick up a Learner Support Fund application form from the Advice Centre or Student Services. You can apply at the start of your course and will need to provide evidence of your household income. You’ll be told if you are eligible when you submit your form. After your application has been handed in, you’ll receive an email to your college email address to let you know you when your first payment will be put on your student ID card

13. If you don't meet the entry requirements

If you don’t have GCSE maths or English you’ll need to do an online assessment when you enrol. Please let your assessor know if you need a paper copy, large print, coloured paper or any other format.

14. Tracking your progress

You can track your grades with a system called ProPortal. You can use this to see your success, attainment levels and progress on your course. You can get onto ProPortal outside of college.

If you have a personal tutor they will monitor your progress and review your social, emotional and educational needs.

15. Staff training

All staff are trained in disability awareness, health and safety, equality and diversity, and safeguarding.

Many staff are also trained to work with people who have a range of learning needs such as autistic spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia and dyspraxia.

Staff supporting higher needs students have training in other specialist areas. These include Makaton and continence management.

Our staff have an annual observation and appraisals to identify additional training needs.

Our staff have an annual observation and appraisals to identify additional training needs.

16. Traineeships, apprenticeships, supported internships and work experience opportunities

We have recruitment and business teams to help you progress into apprenticeships or traineeships by matching you with placements and helping you with your application. For more information visit the apprenticeships page on our website here:

17. Extra-curricular activities

Our communal areas can be used by all students. These include libraries, a gym and a social room with computers, a pool table, Wii, PS3 and Xbox. In these areas you can get support such as extended book loans, ergonomic equipment, adjustable tables, and stations with accessible software and enlargement apparatus. If you need additional support to help you use these facilities, we will work with you to provide this.

18. Career advice and support

You’ll receive career advice when you are approaching the end of your course.

If you have an EHC plan or SEN statement, we will talk to you about your aspirations during each annual review. This will include careers advice and planning for adulthood.

Throughout your course you’ll work on employability, interview practice, CV writing and workplace skills.

19. If you are unhappy with your support or course

If you’re unhappy with any aspect of the College, you can speak to your tutor or the head or the school or service concerned. If this hasn’t resolved the issue, you can read our complaints policy and procedure and fill in the complaints form online. This can be provided in an alternative format of your choice.

20. Contact details

Learner support for mainstream courses

Last updated: 23/01/2019
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